Headed by the Commissioner of Competition, the Bureau is responsible for the administration and enforcement of four pieces of legislation:
- Competition Act
- Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (except as it relates to food)
- Textile Labelling Act
- Precious Metals Marking Act
The Competition Act contains both criminal and civil provisions aimed at preventing anti competitive practices in the marketplace. Its purpose is to maintain and encourage competition in Canada in order to:
- promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy
- expand opportunities for Canadian participation in world markets while at the same time recognizing the role of foreign competition in Canada
- ensure that small and medium-sized enterprises have an equitable opportunity to participate in the Canadian economy
- provide consumers with competitive prices and product choices.
Did you know . . .
On May 2, 1889, Canada’s 6th Parliament enacted the first antitrust statute in the industrial world: An Act for the Prevention and Suppression of Combinations Formed in Restraint of Trade, better known as the Anti-Combines Act.
Consider the context: in 1889, Queen Victoria ruled, people travelled by horse and carriage, and the telephone was a new invention. But, just like today, the government understood the importance of fair competition.
Today, the Competition Bureau continues to protect competition in the marketplace and uphold values that are foundational to our economy—values nearly as old as Canada itself.
Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act
The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act relates to the packaging, labelling, sale, importation and advertising of prepackaged non-food products.
It requires that prepackaged consumer products bear accurate and meaningful labelling information to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions. The Act prohibits false or misleading representations and sets out specifications for mandatory label information such as the product’s name, net quantity and dealer identity.
Textile Labelling Act
The Textile Labelling Act relates to the labelling, sale, importation, and advertising of consumer textile items.
The Act requires that such items bear accurate and meaningful labelling information to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions. The Act prohibits presenting false or misleading information and specifies the information that must appear on labels. For example, labels must show the generic name of each fibre present in the item as well as the dealer’s full name and postal address or the dealer’s unique identification number.
Precious Metals Marking Act
The Precious Metals Marking Act relates to the marking of items that contain precious metals.
It provides for the uniform description and quality markings of articles made with gold, silver, platinum, or palladium to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions. The Act prohibits the presenting false or misleading information related items that contain precious metals. It also requires that dealers who choose to add quality marks to their items do so as described by the Act and Regulations.
A balanced approach
We use a balanced approach to deliver our mandate:
- We advocate for and protect Canadian consumers and ensure that businesses continue to prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.
- We take action and work with our partners to promote compliance so that Canadians are not victimized.
- We work with other agencies and stakeholders to extend our reach to promote competitiveness and innovation.
- We tell people about the work that we do so that consumers are informed and businesses are guided.
The Competition Bureau’s approach to the administration and enforcement of the laws under its jurisdiction is based on five governing principles:
- Fairness: We strive to strike the right balance between compliance and enforcement.
- Predictability: We provide correct and timely information about the work that we do to inform consumers and to allow business to take appropriate actions to comply with the law.
- Timeliness: We move quickly and efficiently as we deal with issues affecting Canadians.
- Transparency: We believe in taking an open and honest approach to the work that we do, knowing that we must always be prepared to be judged by the standards we set.
- Confidentiality: We use all possible means to protect confidential or commercially sensitive information.